I never thought I'd be writing a blog post like this, but now that I'm coming up on 20 years in this industry, and I'm writing on a website called BrianMadden.com, I feel like I've earned the right to. I'm saddened that the industry seems to have adopted the grammatically-incorrect term "on premise" in place of the actual term, "on premises" when discussing where servers will live.
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Premise and premises are two different words which mean two different things:
- premise - something assumed or taken for granted
- premises - (1) a tract of land with the building thereon, or (2) a building or part of a building
So if you say, "I like VDI on premise," what you're saying is "I like the idea of VDI." If you say, "I like VDI on premises," you're saying, "I like VDI inside my building." (Funny given my recent article about how everyone should just use DaaS, I guess you could say that I don't like VDI on premise or on premises. :)
Over the past few years, I fought the good Ted Mosby-like fight, correcting people as it came up. In fact exactly one year ago today, I tweeted it.
I honestly don't have a problem with individual end users and IT pros confusing the terms. They're IT geeks, not grammar geeks. But when people who work at vendors in the space are talking about their products, or, (even worse), when vendors themselves are talking about their own products in news releases, there is no excuse for them not to be grammatically correct! Isn't this what PR pros' jobs are? (Or does making up zealotic quotes which they ascribe to random execs take up too much of their time?)
Unfortunately it looks like we lost the war in the past year, with VMware, Citrix, and Microsoft all preferring the term "on premise" over "on premises" in their official press releases and technical documents. I first noticed it with VMware's Horizon 6 press release, and searches on vmware.com today reveal 3280 mentions of "premise" versus only 489 mentions of "premises." Citrix mixes and matches the two terms, (sometimes even on the same page). They used to get it right, but their recent press releases have switched to "on premise." Microsoft released 15 press releases in the past 12 months on this topic. 5 used "on premises" and 10 used "on premise."
Seriously I don't know why this is. The two terms do not mean the same thing and are not interchangeable. Are we all just that lazy that we can't stumble through the three entire syllables of premises? And if we're too careless to notice that, what chance do we have of actually paying attention to the technical documents to install these products? (Again, I don't fault individual usage of IT pros, but vendors' press releases? Seriously??)
Or maybe this is the evolution of language. It's shortened, perverted, and flexed to evolve with the times. Fine, let's call it linguistic evolution.
bt i srsly dont lik it. do u?